June 3, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The pope met with the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican. During the meeting the pope said Palestine's aspiration to become an independent state, is a “legitimate” one. But still, its a goal that shouldn't be accomplished at any price.
In a press release, the Vatican asks Israel and Palestine to live “safely and at peace with its neighbors, within internationally recognized borders.”
The Vatican calls for the "just and lasting respect of everyone's rights." It also adds, that being open to reconciliation will be essential, along with the support of the international community.
Achieving this won't be easy. Amid political tension, Palestinians and Israelis broke off talks in October last year.
The meeting with the Pope lasted 17 minutes. The Palestinian leader gave this golden icon to the pope. In turn, Benedict XVI, gave Abbas the traditional pontifical medal.
This marks the fifth meeting between Benedict XVI and Abbas. The most significant meeting was held in May 2009 in a refugee camp near Bethlehem, where Israel is constructing a wall along one of its borders with Palestine.